WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Spirit of North Carolina is a World War II era plane that’s served many purposes over the last 75 years. It will soon take off from Wilmington for the last time.
The captain and remaining members of the crew are glad to see this sentimental aircraft serve a different purpose.
After fighting in four American wars and performing in countless air shows, this A-26 Invader Attack Bomber is leaving Wilmington for the North Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame in Asheboro.
Capt. George Lancaster said this plane has meant a great deal not only to him, but to all of Wilmington.
“It was in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Bay of Pigs,” Lancaster said. “It had a real important part in all of the wars. It was the main attraction in a lot of air shows because it was big and ugly and pretty, all the same.”
Lancaster has been paying $200 a month to keep the plane at Wilmington International Airport, where he said no one can appreciate it.
He’s excited for it to make the trip its final destination.
“Up there they’re gonna give me a free hanger, inside on a closed hanger for free,” Lancaster explained. “It won’t be any money out of my pocket at all. Plus the fact they got volunteers out there who want to work on the plane, clean it up and put a detail on it and they’re really looking forward to it.”
Lancaster may have the opportunity to sell the plane in the distant future, but he said it would not just be about monetary gain.
“If the time comes to sell it, it would be a good deal for me, but I want it to be in a good home of course and it’s gotta be someone who loves this kind of air plane,” Lancaster said. “It can’t be someone who rides around in a new 20 engine airplane that’s a turbo prop. This is not a turbo prop kind of airplane. It takes a special kind of person who wants to fly this kind of airplane.”
Captain Lancaster says that the plane will be moved to Asheboro in the next few weeks.